Last week, young people attending the Scottish FA Bank of Scotland Midnightleague at Wishaw Sports Centre welcomed a special guest when Motherwell FC player Shaun Hutchison visited their night time training session.

Shaun met the young participants and coaches involved in the initiative, which offers free football facilities and training to the area’s young people.  The local programme, run by Motherwell FC, has proved to be so popular that it is one of the first Midnightleagues in the country to take place outside of the initial January to May run, with facilities at both Wishaw Sports Centre and Braidhurst High School all year round.  Both leagues are attended by 120 young people every week.

Shaun was full of praise for the young participants, commenting, “It is great to see such a worthwhile initiative freely available to young people in our area and equally important that the facilities are available all year round. All the players really seem to enjoy themselves too and the coaches do a great job.”

Bank of Scotland Midnightleague is a national network of diversionary 5-a-side football activity run in partnership with the Scottish FA, targeting disengaged youths aged 12 to 16. The Midnightleague programme has expanded over the last four years into all 32 Scottish local authorities, and in 2009 nearly 10,000 kids have participated in football activity at 75 local community venues. 

Susan Rice, managing director Lloyds Banking Group Scotland, commented, “The Bank of Scotland Midnightleague was launched as a pilot scheme in 2003 and it has been a great success across Scotland.  This year, again, the initiative has been held in all 32 Local Authorities, reaching 10,000 youngsters.  It is extremely encouraging to see the popularity of the leagues continue to grow and we are delighted that some leagues are now able to offer facilities throughout the whole year.”

The Scottish FA initiative is run in partnership with Bank of Scotland, the Scottish Government, local authorities, local Police Forces and The Coalfields Regeneration Trust.  The Government’s “Cashback for Communities” scheme will see the money and goods seized from serious organised criminals being used to make a real difference to the lives of young people across Scotland.

If you are interested in attending the Bank of Scotland Midnightleagues at Wishaw Sports Centre or Braidhurst High or for more details, please contact your local Scottish FA Football Development Officer on 01698 338017.